How do you preserve deadwood and stop rot on deciduous trees?

jbogard

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Hey guys I collected a couple nice viburnum this weekend but they have some deadwood that’s rotting on it so I was wondering what are y’alls preferred methods for preserving deadwood.
 

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Michael P

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This looks like rusty blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum. I have one that was collected over 20 years ago by another hobbyist, and I acquired it soon after. It had a large shari at that time. The wood is extremely hard and durable, and has deteriorated very little even without any treatment. This year I plan to treat it with lime sulfur, but will probably need to stain the wood afterward to avoid a light color. The natural color of the aged dead wood is very dark gray.

Good luck with the tree, and please keep us updated! Assuming I am right about the species, your tree is the only other rusty blackhaw bonsai or pre-bonsai that I know of.
 

jbogard

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This looks like rusty blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum. I have one that was collected over 20 years ago by another hobbyist, and I acquired it soon after. It had a large shari at that time. The wood is extremely hard and durable, and has deteriorated very little even without any treatment. This year I plan to treat it with lime sulfur, but will probably need to stain the wood afterward to avoid a light color. The natural color of the aged dead wood is very dark gray.

Good luck with the tree, and please keep us updated! Assuming I am right about the species, your tree is the only other rusty blackhaw bonsai or pre-bonsai that I know of.
You’re spot on! Great ID off of just bark. @Zach Smith said he had a few back in the day. Do you have any pictures of your rust Blackhawk? The taller one with dead wood near the top is really hard but the smaller one has deadwood beat the ground that is a bit soft. Probably from staying wet under leaves. Maybe it’ll harden up a bit now that it’s out of the ground. Do you have any tips on their culture?
 

Forsoothe!

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15 to 20% household bleach in water painted on with a nylon brush every couple months will kill the black mold that causes a lot of the grayness. Some wood is naturally dark like Huisache and won't bleach to white, but if it would be white without the mold, it will be a nice white unlike the yella of lime sulfur. Don't use a natural fiber brush because it will be eaten up by the bleach before you're done. You need to protect your clothes, too, or you will have little light colored holes up and down your sleeves. And skin, too.FGM 20190209_174010.jpgThe deadwood on this fig is from ~2010.FGM 20170327_162523.jpg
 
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Underdog

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West System epoxy.
That's what we use on soggy boat transoms, Makes sense to me. The trick to that working well was getting it clean and dry
 

Zach Smith

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Deadwood on deciduous trees should really be limited to uros and shari; only rarely does a jinned section look right. If the deadwood of a uro or shari is stable then lime sulfur periodically should keep it looking good once it fades a bit. For those situations where the wood is not stable, PC Petrifier works great and is water-based.
 

Michael P

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I don't have any recent photos, but will try to get some soon if the weather ever clears up. Attached are bad before and after shots from 2003 when the tree was first designed in a workshop with Nick Lenz

.P2010002.JPGP2010004.JPG
 

jbogard

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I don't have any recent photos, but will try to get some soon if the weather ever clears up. Attached are bad before and after shots from 2003 when the tree was first designed in a workshop with Nick Lenz

.View attachment 229572View attachment 229573

That’s a gnarly trunk there! I noticed they like to shoot straight new growth...do you have to wire while it’s really young or do you approach it from a clip and grow method?
 

jbogard

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Don't try to preserve it. Let it rot away naturally.
I do t mind the appearance. I guess I was more concerned with maintaining the actual tree above the point of rot/deadwood.
 

Forsoothe!

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That’s a gnarly trunk there! I noticed they like to shoot straight new growth...do you have to wire while it’s really young or do you approach it from a clip and grow method?
It never gets easier to wire. If you can do it with 1.5mm, and side shoots with 1.0mm, so much the better. Use wire as soon as you see an architecture in your mind's eye, forever. Clip & grow is only capable of removing that which is in the wrong place. If you never remove more than a pinch your tree will grow bigger, sooner. It's just like compound interest in the bank. If you take out some of the interest every year, your account won't grow as fast as if you leave as much in as possible and have the bank pay you interest on your interest.
 

Hyn Patty

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Wow, I love your fig, Forsoothe! Very nice dead wood on it. Interesting and useful thread.
 

Michael P

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"That’s a gnarly trunk there! I noticed they like to shoot straight new growth...do you have to wire while it’s really young or do you approach it from a clip and grow method? "

Thanks! The very straight growth is almost always from root sprouts, which appear every spring. I just cut them off at the soil. Branches on the upper part of the tree are usually more horizontal. I used some wire to shape major branches early in development but have used only clip and grow for years. The branching is opposite, and when you trim a terminal bud the secondary buds grow at nearly right angles to the branch. This makes it easy to develop movement in the branches and twigs without wire.

General culture is easy. Because of our hot dry summers, I keep most of my trees in pots that are larger than the bonsai canons say they should be.
 

ABCarve

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That's what we use on soggy boat transoms, Makes sense to me. The trick to that working well was getting it clean and dry
I built this back in the early 80s with WEST as it is cold moulded. I've been using it on trees for about 6-7 years with no ill effect. Each of the tree shown are all treated with WEST or Total Boat from Jamestown Fastener which I use now. Some of these the wood is not very rot resistant and the large wounds were deteriorating quickly. The Total boat can be thin up to 50% with acetone or alcohol. A single coat just soaks in and will leave a matte finish. Two coats will be shiny which dulls after being painted with lime sulfur you can also use scotch-brite to scuff it up. UV light does break down the expoxy but the sulfur seems to be a good UV filter. When I treated these the deadwood was dry and the majority of punky wood removed. Do not put it on green wood that has been freshly carved.
 

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